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The Jerk (1979)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  14 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 40,535 users  
Reviews: 119 user | 56 critic

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The production notes on the DVD state that a Klieglighted world premiere of the film's trailer was held in the Spring of 1979. The production of it came in under budget and on schedule saving the studio $110 and about 200 feet of film. Newspaper ads declared that the show would run from 8.00 pm to 8.02 pm and that no one would be admitted to the screening after the first six seconds. See more »


When the new phone books arrive, Navin finds his name on a right-hand page in the phone book. However, when the madman randomly chooses a name to be his victim, he points to Navin's name on a left-hand page. See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Referenced in Father of the Bride (1991) See more »


You Belong To Me
Sung by Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin
Music by Lee David
Lyric by Billy Rose
See more »

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User Reviews

What makes the jerk amazing is it is the closest thing SM stand up!
11 January 2004 | by (San Diego, CA) – See all my reviews

I think that Steve Martin as a stand-up comic was brilliant beyond most people's understanding. His humor often werid ,intelligent and always funny is among the best ever. The jerk is his only movie that feels like Steve martin stand up. To some level so does the man with two brains put the jerk is amazing on that level.

If you are even paying attention to the camera direction, or anything technical about this film you just don't get it. I have seen the Jerk so many times I know it by heart and i swear I laugh everytime. Best comedy ever. YES!

25 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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